African American Preachers and Politics: The Careys of by Dennis C. Dickerson

By Dennis C. Dickerson

In the course of many of the 20th century, Archibald J. Carey, Sr. (1868-1931) and Archibald J. Carey, Jr. (1908-1981), father and son, exemplified a mix of ministry and politics that many African American spiritual leaders pursued. Their sacred and secular matters merged in efforts to enhance the religious and fabric health in their congregations. yet as political alliances turned invaluable, either wrestled with ethical results and sundry results. either have been ministers to Chicago's biggest African Methodist Episcopal Church congregations-- the senior Carey as a bishop, and the junior Carey as a pastor and an attorney.

Bishop Carey linked himself often with Chicago mayor William Hale Thompson, a Republican, whom he awarded to black citizens as an best friend. while the mayor appointed Carey to the city's civil carrier fee, Carey helped within the hiring and promoting of neighborhood blacks. yet alleged impropriety for promoting jobs marred the bishop's tenure. The junior Carey, additionally a Republican and an alderman, turned head of the panel on anti-discrimination in employment for the Eisenhower management. He aided innumerable black federal staff. even supposing an influential benefactor of middle and SCLC, Carey linked to infamous FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and compromised aid for Martin Luther King, Jr. either Careys believed politics provided clergy the simplest possibilities to empower the black inhabitants. Their imperfect alliances and combined effects, despite the fact that, proved the complexity of mixing the geographical regions of spirituality and politics.

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Carter of the Illinois Supreme Court as well as Robert S. S. involvement in World War I was another issue that especially stirred Carey. 37 But Carey and other representatives [ 38 ] the ministry of archibald j. carey sr. of the African American community just as strongly protested the mistreatment black soldiers received in segregated army units. As chair of one of Chicago’s selective service boards, evaluating “thousands of white and colored men alike,” Carey denounced and worked to ameliorate such injustices.

In the run-up to the 1920 General Conference, Carey sought to bolster his campaign for the episcopacy with a unified and supportive delegation from the Chicago Annual Conference. Because Cook seemed unsympathetic to Carey’s candidacy, Bishop Levi J. Coppin transferred Cook to St. Paul’s AME Church in Des Moines, and appointed the Reverend S. L. Birt to Cook’s congregation and promised him Carey’s place on the Episcopal Committee at the St. Louis meeting. Carey had carefully cultivated Coppin’s backing, presiding at the 1917 celebration of the bishop’s fortieth anniversary in the ministry.

36 ] the ministry of archibald j. carey sr. 31 Carey was strongly attracted to Washington’s emphasis on economic development and became his staunch ally, although Carey also appreciated the importance that Du Bois attached to the ballot and the protection of black civil rights. Carey’s business opportunities—including ownership of a black newspaper, the Conservator; a partnership in a haberdashery; and his interests as an officer in the Black Diamond Development Company, which participated in a natural gas venture in Kansas—placed him unambiguously in the Washington camp.

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